The Met Office has confirmed that the unprecedented levels of rainfall that we experienced last month meant it was the wettest February on record. We certainly saw the effects of that in Romsey recently with the flood protection barriers deployed along Greatbridge Road and Budds Lane to protect homes and businesses. I’m extremely grateful to Test Valley’s hardworking Environmental Services staff who were instrumental in helping the Environment Agency and Fire Service get the barriers up on that Sunday. A real team effort. Since the 2014 floods, a lot of work and money has gone into the development of a flood alleviation scheme for Romsey by the Environment Agency, Test Valley, Hampshire County Council and the local flood action groups. Much of that scheme has already been constructed.

Test Valley was successful in court twice last week, prosecuting two separate fly-tippers who dumped waste in our beautiful borough. In one of those cases the defendant failed to attend court, so a warrant was issued for her arrest. She spent the night in the cells and the case was heard the next day where she was convicted and made to pay the council’s costs. I hope this sends a clear message to would be lawbreakers that it is simply unacceptable to treat Test Valley in this way. If there is sufficient evidence, we will always seek to prosecute.

Finally, some of my colleagues and I have given up shopping online or using out of town supermarkets for lent. As I never tire of mentioning, our number one priority in Test Valley is to rejuvenate our town centres – with masterplan projects in both Romsey and Andover. But our local retailers need us now, which is why we’ve taken on this challenge for lent – making sure we support our town and village shops and encouraging others to do the same. Don’t forget you can have your say on the Romsey South of Town Centre project, via the Romsey Future consultation until the 20th March. All the details are at:

Cllr Phil North

Leader of Test Valley Borough Council

Member for Bourne Valley